Parking in Woods Hole is challenging.
Beautiful place, no parking spaces. The love of bicycle riding in Falmouth rose out of the desire to get to Woods Hole without a car. They built a dedicated bike path for God’s sake, just to help people get to Woods Hole sans vehicle. Honestly, it’s easier to park a passenger ferry here than find a nook for your Mini Cooper.
Check into the Woods Hole Inn and a FREE parking space is yours for the duration of your stay. I know that sounds weird, because most hotels include free parking — duh. But you need to come to Woods Hole to appreciate the importance of that statement.
Free parking. In Woods Hole!
Check it out.
At the Woods Hole Inn, we maintain what we call a “doily free zone.” You know those musty old Victorians filled with the stuff you see at the flea market and wonder who buys? The little pink teacups and the figurines and the old cigar boxes filled with rubber band collections. Yeah, I hate all that clutter.
So, my husband and I bought this place last year and ran around renovating it with our funky sensibility. We grew up on the East Coast but we have been living in LA for twenty years or so now. And we have come to love mid-century modern, and Sasha Emerson, and Dwell, and the Rose Bowl and all that is hip, cool and clean about LA.
But we also miss that grounded feeling we get when we come home to Cape Cod. Wooden shingles, ancient hand crank laundry machines, ice cream made in small batches. And that zen, in-the-moment, alive feeling that seems to come up from the ground. Or floats in on the salt breeze. Or follows you around like a hungry gull on a moonlit night in October.
So here we are, proud owners of a retro meets modern inn. A place committed to being warm but not too friendly, far away from everything and in the middle of it all, urban and rural, big and small, vintage and new.
Check it out at www.woodsholeinn.com. And let us know how we are doing. Cause whats the fun if we can’t talk about it…
The Woods Hole Inn is on the water in Woods Hole, MA, across from the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. The Inn was built in 1878 and made modern in 2008.
Inn rooms feature modern decor, with a winning combination of old and new featured in magazines like Domino and Dwell.
Inn amenities include free wifi, parking, ipod docking stations, Brookstone sound machines, fresh hot popovers from Pie in the Sky as part of a Real Simple continental breakfast.
This is NOT your Granny’s B & B.
At the Woods Hole Inn, we stay GREEN by the deep BLUE sea.
How do we do it? Let me count the ways:
We recycle. We re-use. We use low VOC paints even though they cost a fortune. We never print on paper what we can file electronically. We offer discounts to customers who come by bus. We keep the heat turned down and do not use AC, ever! We turn lights and fans off when we can. We ask guests to participate with us by re-using towels and sheets when they can. We supply eco-chic toilet paper even when guests sometimes beg for evil-Charmin.
What do we hope to do? Add solar panels. Build a roof garden for herbs and natural insulation. Finish insulating the building. Find a local farm to take our compost. Build a chicken coop and serve eggs made from our own hens. Plant a garden to keep it super locavore. Live on the 100 mile diet.
Any other good ideas for me?
Memento Vivere…Remember to Live.
“Memento Vivere” was tattooed on the arm of a friend who died unexpectedly last month. Like he was trying to send a posthumous message to the rest of us… And so it was I embraced the carpe diem of it all and wandered off the beaten path this week in Woods Hole.
Ahh, the fall weather on Cape Cod is so unbelievably sweet. I walked in the full moonlight around on Harbor Hill Road and back into town at School Street. It was about 10 pm on a quiet Monday night and once I was on Harbor Hill I did not see a person or a car until a got back into town. The crickets were singing to me, moonlight filtered through the leaves and a soft warm breeze followed. Magical, zen, very in the moment.
Jon Kabat-Zinn lives in Woods Hole, with his family, and if you have read any of his books (“Full Catastrophe Living” or “Wherever You Go, There You Are”) you will recognize the splendor in a moment like that one.
So I share a few fall photos of Woods Hole. This is from the Great Harbor where the ferries pass daily to the Vineyard, looking back across the water at our little town. Windy day, but not cold yet.
The Woods Hole Passage, they call it, and it is one of the most treacherous crossings on the eastern seaboard — currents of 4-5 knots pull industrial sized buoys sideways at peak tides and the narrow channel is peppered with rocks the size of small islands. A boat a day goes on the rocks here in the summer and there is a Coast Guard station around the corner to service all the rescues needed. Through these waters pass huge yachts, old wooden racing boats called “Twelve Footers” and “Knockabouts,” Hinckley picnic boats daytripping to Quicks Hole and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes following the striped bass and bluefish.
And this is Hadley Harbor in the off season. A short boat ride from Woods Hole, through the Woods Hole Passage, any local charter fisherman can take you there. Empty and undeveloped, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Fall is in the air, and the leaves are threatening to turn. Walking the beaches near Woods Hole, stunning vistas to Martha’s Vineyard as the light settles down. Maybe the phosphorescence will glimmer mysteriously in the tides. For sure, the harvest moon of the Wampanoags will fill the sky with her iridescent glamor and whisper into the souls of hardened Cape Codders about the summers to come. Winter may be around the corner, but summer will always return.
Somehow in the course of my life, I have been privileged to come to know many of the genius writers that bring the hit FOX series “The Simpsons” to life week after week.
And if you like “The Simpsons” then you know that the show is filled with erudite, cutting edge references to people, places and things all over the planet. The writers of such a show must be very very smart indeed. Smart enough to know that Woods Hole makes a great vacation!
So it is with some pride that I name-drop two of the very best writers from the show who came to visit us in Woods Hole this summer — Ian Maxtone-Graham and Mike Reiss. Ian came in early August and held a cool seminar in Quicks Hole as part of the Woods Hole Film Festival. The Boston Globe wrote a very funny article about it which you can read here:
Mike and his lovely wife Denise came late in the summer and stayed for lobster salads at Quicks Hole. They live in NYC now and commute to LA for Mike to bring his unique genius to the show one day a week. Mike is also known for his great kids books, and a wonderful lecture he gives about writing on the longest running TV comedy.
We are honored to host writing luminaries at the Woods Hole Inn. Any other Simpsons writers who would like to come check it out are welcome to call for a reservation — I’ll give you the Mike Reiss discount (everyone knows he and Denise are all about value:)
So, I guess I am not the only one who thinks the academic buildings of Woods Hole make the whole place feel a little like Cambridge on Cape Cod. And frankly, since I often refer to Cambridge as “utopia,” when you mix utopia with great beaches and the positive ions of the ocean air, I guess you get…um… nirvana?
Harvard professor Louis Agassiz was an important force in the development of the Marine Biological Laboratory back in the 1880s. And along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, there have been countless Harvard grads living and working here for the last 125 years. The MBL is billed as the oldest private laboratory in the country and it is famous for serendipitious scientific encounters such as the meeting of Franklin Stahl and Matthew Messelsen which resulted in the first replications of DNA. And lots of other cool stuff like that including all the research for Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
There are two or three Nobel prize winners living right in this little fishing village. So if you are into science, walking around here is like being on the red carpet at the science Academy Awards: “Look, there’s Brad Pitt, err … I mean Osamu Shimomura. He’s married to Angelina Jolie, I mean … He won the Nobel for harnessing the natural power of luminescence found in jellyfish.”
Follow this link to the journalist who claims, “I like to think of Woods Hole, in Falmouth, as the Harvard Square of Cape Cod.” She has a number of nice photos there too.
But remember, the “nirvana” you may experience with those positive ions, the great beaches and our wonderful ocean views is not really science. To me, it’s more like art.
One of the finest parts of life in Woods Hole is the warm water swimming. And Nobska Beach is the very best beach in my humble opinion. Cape Cod gets the gulf stream, so the water is really lovely in the summer. And the fall.
I walked to Nobska one memorable morning. You head up the hill from the village of Woods Hole, past Little Harbor where the Coast Guard are stationed. You take a right on Church Street which must be named for the adorable stone church on the left. It was cool under the tree canopy, and the early morning light filtered through the trees and danced on the grassy curb. A few cars whizzed by me, and I smiled at the steady stream of runners and bikers (this being the path of the famous Falmouth Road Race its a popular and scenic run/bike).
Down the hill a little and then the beach emerged, the ancient light house standing guard. A small row of bath houses stands guard, for locals who like to change before swimming I guess. A woman was out in a chair early, reading a book but other than that the beach was empty. I saw the ferries headed across the Sound and the air was so clear it felt like you could reach out and touch the Vineyard.
I was particularly taken with the clarity of the water, swirling the rocks and gently lapping the beach sand. I took the picture above; it seemed to call out to me.
Try this walk some morning. You will not be disappointed.
Woods Hole is filled with marine biologists, wooden boat builders and fisherman. If you ask a Woods Hole local, most will tell you that they do not own a TV. The movie theater is at least a half hour from here and dvd rentals are slow at the “Coffee O.” Woods Hole is a place where pop culture is not much of a priority.
So when Steve Carell and his family drop in for a lobster taco at Quicks Hole restaurant, NOBODY RECOGNIZES HIM! That’s right, it’s seems most Woods Holies have never seen “The Office” or “The 40 Year Old Virgin” or “Little Miss Sunshine.” So, Steve just wanders around, orders what he likes, sits and enjoys a cold brew — whateva. No paparazzi, no autograph seekers, no lookie-loos.
Little known fact about most celebrities — they like being ignored. It’s a break from their public lives. Add to that the chance to nosh great local fare and boat in some of the world’s best waters and you have catnip for the fabulous and famous. Steve and entourage wandered across Vineyard Sound from their family compound near Tashmoo, swam on a sandbar, toured Woods Hole Harbor and ate at Quicks Hole.
It was a fabulous and famous Woods Hole day.
You won’t see a parade like this one anywhere else on the planet.
On the Fourth of July, the citizens of Woods Hole line Water Street to watch one of the more unusual parades I have ever seen. The marine biological labs empty out and students dress as single cell amoeba, dance like algae and wear crustacean costumes to ring in our nation’s birthday. Its a fabulous amalgamation of science and patriotism and I can’t imagine a better spot to enjoy this important holiday.
On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer free lemonade, ice tea, cookies and a great view of the festivities. Our guests mingle with locals as festive floats and scads of graduate students dance and laugh their way from School Street across the drawbridge. Kids and their parents line the streets and enjoy the antics. After the parade, the shops and restaurants are filled with hungry revelers eager to get a nice lobster taco, ahi tuna burrito or cold draft beer by the waterfront. This year was one of the first great days of the summer weather-wise, so it felt especially festive and crowded. Hot in the sun, the steady southwest breeze off of Vineyard Sound kept everyone cool.
We open the inn up on the Fourth and give tours. This year a grande dame from Juniper Point came in to look around and see if we were “up to snuff” (as my own grande dame of a grandmother used to say) for later in the summer when her large house by the water would be packed to the last maids room and she might need some overflow space. I toured her through the renovated property and in her own quiet and WASPY way she seemed impressed. She had that wonderful lockjaw that distinguishes the generation that grew up listening to Katherine Hepburn and living in the world chronicled by movies like “Philadelphia Story.” She told me she was 84 years old, she had been coming to Woods Hole her entire life and she had never before set foot in the Woods Hole Inn. “We always thought it was a house of prostitution!” she exclaimed. Well, I said, who knows, maybe it was?
But it’s not anymore, and next year when you are scratching your head about what unique way to spend the Fourth, consider the Woods Hole Inn. We may not have any “ladies of the evening,” but we promise to show you a good time:)
Lobster Tacos are a sublime idea. Cold succulent lobster lightly dressed. Fresh cut red cabbage, a touch of lime on a hot corn taco?? Incredible.
New to Woods Hole this summer, the lobster taco is an inspired fusion of traditional Cape Cod with a dash of innovation from the surf shacks of Baha California.
Don’t miss this treat, and much more at the all new Quicks Hole restaurant. Its on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn, right next to the t-shirt shop and facing the Martha’s Vineyard ferry hides the hottest new joint in town. Word is leaking out about this place, and while it opens at 10 for lunch there is often a line of impatient ferry-goers at the door, jonesing for their fix that will be bagged and consumed on the the ferry. What’s better than the upper deck of the “Island Home” with a lobster taco, a 360 degree view of the Sound and the gulls circling jealously overhead?
Also on the menu — amazing local salads served in a fried tortilla bowl, rare yellowfin tuna burritos, sweet potato fries, hot chips with fresh salsas, made-to-order quacamole…see where we are going here?
Woods Hole Inn guests get a discount at Quicks Hole at check in.
See you soon!
Come stay in Woods Hole and use the Whoosh to explore all the shops and restaurants on Main Street, Falmouth. I like the kids bookstore called “Eight Cousins” and the toy shop is pretty awesome too. I enjoy lunch at “Laureens” where the lamb kabob is off the hook. And you should not leave without trying one of Tammy’s “CupCapes” at the gourmet cupcake shop.
The other way works pretty well too — just hop the trolley at the Falmouth Mall (or anywhere along the route) and come down to WoHo for the fresh air, great views and fun shopping. I recommend the “Sweats” tshirt shop for great selection and bargains. Don’t leave Woods Hole without trying the lobster taco at Quick’s Hole. That plus a Cape Cod beer? Leave that car behind and enjoy the green benefits of great local transportation. Perfect!
The Whoosh Trolley starts running in late June and goes until early September. Don’t miss a ride this year.
Quicks Hole is open for the season with wicked fresh lobster rolls, burritos and tacos! Come in for a mouth-watering meal or to see the amazing new space hung with new paintings by Tally Forbes.
In addition, Quicks is now selling gourmet cupcakes made fresh daily from all organic materials by our friends at “CupCapes of Falmouth” on Main Street. The Red Velvet Sox with cream cheese frosting are not to be missed. And our coffee is roasted locally at “Pie in the Sky”
Stop by today and learn why people are saying this is the “hottest new joint in Woods Hole” — we are across the street from the ferry landing and at the end of the Shining Sea bike path on the ground floor of the famous Woods Hole Inn. 6 Luscombe Ave in Woods Hole. Menu and more at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.
WOODS HOLE – by Patricia Borns for the BOSTON GLOBE
To understand this village in Falmouth, you have to think beyond the parking lots overflowing with ferry passengers bound for Martha’s Vineyard. Park at the Falmouth Mall, hop the WHOOSH trolley, and you can spend a day on beaches laced with salt ponds and pink rosa ragosa.
From its main drag Water Street to the channel between Penzance Point and Nonamesset Island for which it was named, Woods Hole is synonymous with ocean. You can smell it in the air, see it from almost every restaurant, appreciate it in the seascapes at Edie Bruce’s art gallery on School Street, and learn about it from some of the world’s premier marine research institutions, starting with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).
You might start by admiring the new drawbridge on Water Street as it opens and closes on a pageant of boat traffic in and out of Eel Pond. Then, follow Woods Hole Road to Church Street where Nobska Point Light overlooks one of the best views on Cape Cod.
See white sails tacking toward the purple outline of Martha’s Vineyard on the Vineyard Sound chop, and the mostly Forbes family-owned Elizabeth Islands tapering to a southwest vanishing point facing Buzzards Bay. A day could start and end on this spot, as it often has for artist Doug Rugh, whose career began as an illustrator at the MBL, where his grandparents did research. Rugh and his wife, artist Hillary Osborne, have created an oeuvre of Woods Hole scenes. To locate these in physical reality, link to the Google map on their website, osbornandrughgallery.com.
Spread your blanket on Nobska Beach below the lighthouse on Church Street, or on Stoney Beach beside Gosnold Road, where “you can hear children calling the shells by their [scientific] names,” Rugh says. That’s because scientists by the hundreds flock to the Buzzards Bay-side beach during the season.
“I love the summer. It’s great to be around so many new and different people,” says Cliff Pontbriand, a junior engineer working on oceanographic instrumentation at WHOI. For a peek at the marine scientists’ inner sanctums, he suggests one of the WHOI or MBL tours. The WHOI tour includes a view of the institution’s dock where recently sub-sea robot Nereus was being tested before shipping out to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of Earth’s oceans.
Along with a library of scientific journals dating from the 17th century, the MBL tour visits the Marine Resources Center on MBL Street, where Ed Enos presides over tanks filled with sea creatures used in research.
“What does this remind you of?” says Enos, handing around a mass of gelatinous, fingerlike squid eggs to some shy youngsters. “Gummy bears!” He likens a sea urchin to “mom’s pin cushion” and presses a finger to a toad fish’s soft abdomen so that it grunts “like a frog.”
Pontbriand suggests that if you want to experience what scientists do, get out on the water with OceanQuest. Located next to the WHOI docks on Great Harbor, OceanQuest’s 63-foot, three-station research vessel is the brainchild of Kathy Mullin, a math and science teacher who moved to Cape Cod with her husband but couldn’t find a teaching job. The 90-minute cruise starts on the bow, introducing the atmospheric and ocean dynamics that make our planet viable. There you’ll take a water sample, and in the cabin, analyze it under a scope. On the stern, you might trawl and handle crabs, lightning fish, or any of 200 species found in just a 10-mile radius.
“In the fall we even see trigger fish, usually found in the tropics. The confluence of currents gives Cape Cod waters incredible diversity,” Mullin says.
Science is present even in the spiritual quiet of the Garden of Our Lady, located on Millfield Street across from St. Joseph Church. Created by Frances Lillie, who came in 1894 to study at the MBL, the garden offers a bench where you can contemplate the messages inscribed on the bell tower (Lillie named the two bells for Roman Catholic scientists Gregor Mendel and Louis Pasteur) and the prolific flowers with names like Lady’s Slipper, Lady’s Mantle, and Madonna Lily invoking the Virgin Mary.
The 700,000 daffodils may have passed, but the rhododendrons will be blooming in Spohr Gardens, an out-of-the-way landscape off Oyster Pond Road that’s worth a painting or picnic in early June. Begun in the 1950s, the six-acre plot set on a still green pond was the passion of Margaret and Charles Spohr, who also collected the ships’ anchors, bells, and millstones on display.
You could wind down the day with a brew and burger at “the Kidd” (Captain Kidd Restaurant on Water Street) where wisps of theoretical discourse can be heard among the tourists’ din.
But if you like to bike, follow the Shining Sea Bikeway out Quissett Road to Quissett Harbor. New this year, the shore-hugging route, which many consider the sweetest on Cape Cod, has been extended from the Woods Hole Steamship Authority to County Road in North Falmouth, about 10 miles. Slightly north of Woods Hole proper, inner Quissett Harbor looks like a page from a children’s book: deep and glade-like, dotted with classic sloops. Around the shoreline, the buildings of the former Quissett Harbor Hotel and James Marshall estate, now a conference facility of the National Academy of Sciences, recall Quissett’s days as a 19th-century vacation spot.
A leafy trail shoots off to small beaches, and a narrow neck of land, the Knob, wraps its protective arm around the harbor. Here you can watch the sun set with a wide-open view to Buzzards Bay and the Elizabeth Islands.
While I was here, a boy splashed in the shallows with his parents. “Mom,” he said, “isn’t this the perfect place?”
Patricia Borns can be reached at email@example.com.
Quick’s Hole is known for its wicked fresh lobster roll, burritos and tacos. The newest restaurant entry in busy Woods Hole, this spot is committed to serving great food made with local ingredients — seasonal, family-farmed, fresh from local waters, all natural, healthy and green.
Park your bike at the end of the Shining Sea bike path and enjoy a Cape Cod burrito and beer combo. Come at night for our seasonally-inspired Tapas menu paired with organic wines selected by our award-winning chef. Grab a Yellowfin Tuna BLT burrito with a sangria and homemade pico de gallo with hot chips. Sit on the deck and watch the sunset over Woods Hole harbor.
We opened late last season as it took longer than expected to make the changes we planned to the old “Naked Lobster.” This year we flew in the face of the recession and expanded again, adding room for actual tables. We will be open starting next weekend for the summer season.
What does “wicked fresh” mean to us? Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Local! Learn more at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.
Perched right on the edge of the Atlantic with french doors across the front, the Landfall Restaurant sits like a dock on the cusp of Woods Hole harbor. From here, the ferries come and go like stately matrons marching back and forth across Vineyard Sound. Watch the gulls, hear the tinkle of a child’s laughter as the boat pulls away, sit back with a cold brew as the crowds fight their way onto the Vineyard.
You see, the locals know that there is no rush to get out there. That half the fun is the process and if you miss this boat, another one leaves in a half hour so why not enjoy the breeze for a few extra minutes? The room is littered with lobster pots hung from the rafters and staffed by the college kid you wish you once were — bright-eyed, optimistic and efficient.
The Landfall Restaurant is such an institution that they hold reunions of their summer staff each year and scores of former employees now masters-of-the-universe show up for one more Cape Codder on the edge of the world. This is one of the few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the water (think about it, setting in the west usually means over land if you are on the Atlantic).
When hurricanes come, the owners just take the french doors off, clear everything out and wait for the tidal surge to wash through the restaurant. That’s how close this place is to the water.
There is a webcam at the end of the dock here, looking out at Nonamesset Island. In the spring there’s a banner announcing the restaurant’s opening day. I like to log on just to see if it’s raining, or if the ferry is pulling out. Or some brave spring fisherman is heading out from the Eel Pond. Or a new vessel has docked at WHOI. For me it’s a rite of spring to start thinking about what is happening in WoHo, who is there, what’s going on and when will I get to the Landfall for the baked scrod and a pinot grigio?
Somehow, I suspect, I am not the only one who counts on this webcam to bridge me to the actual summer. Check it out on www.woodshole.com. The Landfall Restaurant is across the street from the Woods Hole Inn.